Information On The Internet- Beware!

veryone today would agree that the Internet has developed into an incredible source of information, all of it instantaneously accessible through a simply Google or Yahoo! search and a few clicks of the computer mouse. But truth is, not all of the results that we see are what they seem.  One has to learn to beware and to never accept anything out of hand without some sort of verification of its accuracy.
Websters Dictionary defines the word, vet as: to appraise, verify, or check for accuracy, authenticity, validity, etc.  An example of this verb in action would be: ‘An expert had to vet the manuscript before authorizing its publication” or The cabinet nominee expected to be fully vetted before being confirmed”. Through proper vetting of our own, we can determine if what is presented to us is actually true, exaggerated, or outright   false. 

We all have, at one time or another have seen some interesting information on the Internet, received a forwarded email with a strange or remarkable story attached,, or written up in an official looking manner.  The old adage, "I believe nothing of what I hear and  only  half of what I see” applies here.  Though this may seem to be a bit extreme, a degree of skepticism does  need to be applied to everything and not accepted as truth without vetting. Here are two perfect examples of this and how vetting can separate fact from fiction: 

The first is a story of redemption and its results. During the 1920’s and 30s, an unscrupulous lawyer named ‘Easy Eddie’ made a highly lucrative living protecting the notorious gangster, Al Capone and members of his Chicago gang.  While he was able to lavish his family with all of the material luxuries, he was unable to provide them with a good name and a good example, especially for his young son, Edward, who he adored.  Racked with guilt, he came upon a plan to not only redeem himself but to illustrate the difference between right and wrong and also offer his son direction on how to live one’s life with honesty and integrity.  He would provide the authorities with the needed information to put Capone behind bars. ‘Easy Eddie’ paid the ultimate price for his decision.

Soon after Capone’s conviction on income tax evasion, ‘Easy Eddie’ was brutally gunned down on a dark Chicago street by unknown assailants (supposedly on orders from the imprisoned Capone).  Having learned a valuable lesson, his son was to attend the U.S. Naval Academy and later, distinguish himself by becoming the Navy's first Ace of World War II and the first Naval Aviator to ever win the Congressional Medal of Honor. A year later he was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29.  To honor the heroic deeds of Edward (Butch) O’Hare, his hometown of Chicago named their international airport after him.

While the bulk of this tale is true, much of it has been romanticized.  It is true that ‘Easy Eddie’ O’Hare was Capone’s lawyer but he was also his business manager, setting up many of Capone’s illegal enterprises (and was even a partner with him in several of them).  His decision to turn state’s evidence was more likely an act of self-preservation rather then redemption.  He realized that Capone would soon fall and if that happened, he, too, would be prosecuted.  It is believed that in return for his testimony, the government may have agreed to help his son gain admission to the Naval Academy.  While it is true that his son would go on to distinguish himself, it had little to do with his father’s actions.  It is also a subject of debate as to whether or not he died in aerial combat (many believe that he died as result of friendly fire).  And finally, Chicago was not even Butch O’Hare’s hometown. He was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri!